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Pope Francis in Santa Marta during the homily. 2015 June 25


‘Hypocrisy Hurts the Church,’ Warns Pope at Morning Mass

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Urges Christians to Be Truthful

If you wish to not damage the Church and others, be truthful and never hypocritical.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gave this recommendation during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, June 6, 2017, warning that hypocrisy isn’t the ‘language of Jesus,’ nor of Christianity.

Drawing inspiration from today’s Gospel, where some Pharisees and Herodians tried to “ensnare” Jesus in his speech, the Holy Father observed: “The hypocrite always uses language to flatter.”

Jesus, Francis reminded, uses the word “hypocrite” often to describe the doctors of the law, because, as their title illustrates, “they claim to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case, they give opinions and issue judgments, but are false.”

“Hypocrites,” the Holy Father warned, “always begin with adulation, exaggerating the truth, feeding into one’s vanity.”

However, Pope Francis underscored, Jesus makes us see reality which is the opposite of hypocrisy and ideology.

As one sees with the doctors of the law in today’s reading, Francis underscored, flattery is triggered by “bad intentions.”

The Holy Father warned that they had put Jesus to the test, flattering him first and then asking him a question with the intention of making him err, namely that of: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”

“The hypocrite is two-faced,” Francis stressed, “but Jesus knew their hypocrisy.”

“Jesus always responds to hypocrites and ideologists with reality: ‘this is the reality; everything else is either hypocrisy or ideology’. In this case he said: ‘bring me a coin’, and he answered with the wisdom of the Lord: ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – the reality was that the coin carried the image of Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’”

The language of hypocrisy, Francis also said, is the language of deceit, “the same language the serpent used with Eve.” While it starts with flattery, it ends up destroying people.

“It tears to pieces the personality and the soul of a person. It destroys communities,” the Pope said.

Warning all Christians who at times are hypocritical, Pope Francis stressed how problematic this sin is for the Church.

“The hypocrite is capable of destroying a community. While speaking gently, he ruinously judges a person. He is a killer,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis concluded, giving two pieces of advice–respond to flattery only with truth, and respond to ideology, only with reality–, and praying: “Let us ask the Lord to guard us from this vice, to help us be truthful, and if this is not possible to keep silent – but never to be a hypocrite.”

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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